Nuance, texture, geometry and metaphors need a collective identity. So to find one image that would bring it all together, McConnell enlisted long-time friend and collaborator, Michaela Webb, director of the design team at Studio Round, to develop Golden Fields’ identity. “There’s something about Golden Fields that’s quite sharp and there’s lots of marble and white tiles and shelving with Yves Klein blue,” says Webb. “It’s going to look quite contemporary and completely different to anything Andrew’s done.
“Because the room is quite slick, polished and quite finished, there needed to be something different about the identity.”
Back in April, Webb met with McConnell at the Golden Fields when it was little more than a building site and a good idea. “The thing that was going through my head the most that day was there was so much personality going on, and so much different personality,” she explains. “From Yves Klein Blue to timber to marble to white tiles to high seats to low seats. Then the lighting...I guess I was wondering how the identity was going to fit with all that and I had a real concern that anything that was heavily designed into that space would tip it over the edge and make it feel too high-end, too sharp, too polished. Then when Andrew was talking about the food, which is shared plates and more casual and that you can just go in for coffee – with the casualness of how the customer was going to interact with the actual space itself – there was a slight disconnect for me.”
This divide saw Michaela and one of Round’s designers, Rhys Gorgol, work on creating a pared-back design that embraces and supports the Golden Fields narrative. “I said to Andrew, there’s something about this identity that needs to be brought back down and feel like someone in your kitchen has done this, but they haven’t,” she recalls. “There has to be a feeling of a real lightness of touch, it needs to be ‘under-designed’.”
Several conversations ensued and several fonts were tested, until the recently designed font, Lettera emerged as a clear favourite, its “awkwardness and typewriter feel” fitting the brief perfectly. The decision to not use menu folders also came about at this point. “There couldn’t be too many folders or wallets or even a bill fold,” says Webb. “Anything like that was going to take it too far. It would almost overpromise for the offering that you might be getting. If you got a large folder you might be expecting to get $35 meals rather than share plates. With one piece of paper there’s a casualness to the food offering.”
That said, the folds and placement of text on the menus assumed a mathematical as well as an artistic quality. “The Golden Ratio is an algorithm, philosophers and artists found the recurrence of it in nature and when numbers work in this pattern they are found to produce aesthetically pleasing proportions and feel right to the eye and hand,” explains Gorgol. “It’s also a metaphor for the Eastern and Western disciplines that have come together in the restaurant. It’s a Western philosophy but the quietness and the stillness of it has a Japanese sensibility to it, much like what Andrew’s doing, a Western take on an Eastern cuisine.”
The Golden Ratio has been applied to the bill fold, the wine menu and everything you read at Golden Fields and the identity is studied. Its strength is its simplicity and connection to the space. “It has an under-designed yet quite designed feel to it,” says Webb.